We wanted to begin by finding out what you do, how you started and what made you form the company StrattyX?

Auriel and I were freshmen roommates at Harvard University and right now we’re both seniors and we’ve sort of been best friends ever since freshman year and we live together. Auriel was a cryptocurrency quant at Goldman Sachs last year where she built out many tools for the bank.  She was pretty much their first analyst. I myself code and have my own portfolio that I invest in and over winter break last year (2018). We had mutual friends ask us to code out bots for them and offered to pay us, that’s sort of how the idea of StrattyX was born.

FinTech in general is a competitive market.  What drove you to believe you could do this?

We realised that Auriel and I were lucky enough to have experience in finance specifically in banking and in computer science and were able to code tools to trade.  We were aware that other people don’t necessarily have these tools so we decided that we would bring these tools to everyone else and that ties in with the mission of StrattyX which is to democratise algorithmic trading.

How did you come up with the name StrattyX and is it just the 2 of you involved?

The name StrattyX stems from the idea of strategy and how we provide strategies or means to create strategies in order to solve X which you can think of as a return.  Along the way we brought on a couple of other friends to join us. We’ve added a new team member, Tate who did robotics together with Auriel in high school. He is an amazing programmer of 8 years and has previously built systems that have garnered 100,000 users so he’s very experienced on the backend and is amazing to work with.

What stage of the start-up process are you currently at? Are you seeking funding, beta testing or is the product ready for release?

Right now, StrattyX is planning to raise a seed round early next year and in terms of product we have a public beta available on the Apple App Store and we will have an app on Android available very soon. We want to make sure that we can bring a product to everyone that is as useful and bugless as it can be before we officially launch.

How are you engaging getting feedback from your beta testers and when do you plan on going live?

We are spending significant time iterating on feedback from our current beta testers. We have around 6 or 7 calls with them every week in addition to them having to fill out surveys and giving us feature suggestions on how they would like to improve the app. Once we have finished this process, we will officially launch the product.

How do you see the future of cryptocurrency evolving?

Yeah so just to sort of ground everything, Bitcoin which is where a lot of people tend to think about crypto as the most popular concept in cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is extremely inefficient and pretty novice. As we go along with cryptocurrency, I see that the underlying technology may be somewhat more useful. But the idea of us using blockchain as the means of trying to make virtual currency for our world happen is something that I don’t really see it as realistic from a computer science standpoint. I think that there will be some sort of underlying protocol or other type of data structure that will end up maybe making a better virtual currency. But the one that we have currently—I don’t really see it as becoming the standard globally. It’s just too inefficient in terms of its ability to be understood and worked with by all of society. Even those who are computer scientists still have a hard time grappling with what cryptocurrency is.  Furthermore, the concept of tokenomics is still not well understood. We have a lot of data points to fill in to make a digital equivalent to cash.

From your beta testing would you say people are open to this form of app-based investing?

I would say people, particularly our target markets of millennial investors, are very familiar and used to trading with their mobile phones. In 2016 we saw the rise of Robinhood, a commission-free brokerage with a zero-deposit requirement. You can trade via your mobile with a very simple-to-use interface, and this is sort of the age that people now are growing up in. Charles Schwab has its own app, TD Ameritrade has its own app, so people are already very familiar with using an app to trade and invest. In that regard trading via StrattyX on a mobile app is very intuitive and easy.

So, ease of use and the interface are quite important in the development?

As for the ease of use, the reason why we had a private beta and are running a public beta now is just to make sure we can make our interface as intuitive as possible. So right now, we have a 4.5 rating on the App Store indicating that people really do love the app and are finding it very useful for them especially given that this is a public beta and we have not officially launched yet.

With all these other apps in the same space what is the unique selling point for StrattyX?

We allow our users to create their own trading strategies. The strategy creation process is very intuitive and enables people to create and test and automate strategies based on indicators like news, tweets, price changes, exchange rates and more. And all of that with a simple drop-down menu and a very clean intuitive interface.

What’s an example of a strategy that one can carry out using the app?

Let’s say you want to own 2 shares of Apple and you want to buy when the CEO of apple, Tim Cook, tweets, “increased sales,” or the price of Apple stocks drops by 5%. You can then pair that with a buy strategy triggered by Apple stocks rising by 5%.

Why not just go to a traditional stock broker like JPMorgan?

President Trump tweeted in August about negotiations in the US-China trade war falling through. In the next 48 hours, the S&P 500 dropped by 4%. That’s a loss of $90 billion dollars across the nation.  JPMorgan is less affected by that because they are able to track the impact of Trump’s tweet. But in order to have JPMorgan manage your assets, you need to have thousands in assets under management at all times. That’s not accessible to everyone, so we are trying to bring these sorts of advanced intuitive tools to the everyday person.

Are you targeting the US market only or are you looking to go global?

We are initially targeting the US market. But since StrattyX is a software and brokerage agnostic, meaning that you can connect any brokerage account, we have the potential to expand globally.  Auriel and I have been thinking about potential expansion into emerging markets like India and Africa. But obviously we need to first build out a very strong and robust product that people love and trust in the US. So, we’re starting with that, and then we’re going to expand globally.


What are some of the challenges you have faced being a start-up and competing in a sector with well-established players?

I would say building a start-up is always challenging because the essence of a start-up is building something from nothing. I would say that Auriel and I both have a unique challenge in that we are both women of colour.

StrattyX has a 100% female colour founder team which is rare in fintech.  Auriel and I go to pitch at different events where we are often the only woman, and Auriel is often the only black person on the stage pitching.

At TechCrunch Disrupt SF recently we placed among the top 5 but we were the youngest to ever be on stage. Auriel is also a female technical founder of colour. So, in that regard it’s empowering but then also that means we need to push through a lot of biases in the space. To put that in context only 2.2% of venture capital funding last year went to female founded start-ups which is insane.   That’s certainly not because woman cannot come up with good ideas but rather it’s just biases existing in this space.

How do you overcome these challenges?

Auriel and I have learned to be resilient. We fully believe in our vision of democratising algorithmic trading and are equally passionate about paving the path for fellow female founders as well as just bringing accessible tools to the everyday investor. It just inspires us more to push forward in this space.

What’s next for StrattyX?

We want to make sure that we can put out a product that users love and that is strong and sticky. In terms of number of users, we reached 10,000 people before we launched our public beta. We did that while spending $0.00 on marketing. So that means that those 10,000 people found us through word of mouth.